If you think drinking diet soda will keep off the weight gain, then thin again. Diet soda may not be saving as many calories as you believe, revealed a researchers from University of Illinois.
The team examined the dietary habits of more than 22,000 American adults and found that diet-beverage consumers may compensate for the absence of calories in their drinks by noshing on extra food that is loaded with sugar, sodium, fat and cholesterol.
Using a US Department of Agriculture food database, researcher Ruopeng An compiled a 661-item list of discretionary foods, which includes foods that do not belong to the major food groups and are not required by the human body but may add variety to a person's diet. These energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods include products such as cookies, ice creams, chocolates, fries and pastries.
The researchers found that more than 90% of the people in the study consumed discretionary foods daily, averaging about 482 calories from these products each day.
An said, "Switching to diet drinks may not help people control their weight if they don't pay attention to the quantity and quality of the foods they consume. We recommend that people carefully document their caloric intake from both beverages and discretionary foods because both of these add calories - and possibly weight - to the body. Public health interventions take a holistic approach, encouraging people to assess their beverage consumption in the context of their overall dietary behavior."
The study will be published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.